Review: Sena Cases Florence for iPad 2
Along with Vaja, Sena Cases continues to use some of the iPad accessory industry's best quality leather in its cases for Apple's products. Its most recent folio-style case Florence for iPad 2 ($80) is no exception. This case is slimmer than most leather models, and has a few nice touches that set it apart, though also one caveat that will concern some iPad 2 users. The design is very classic and clean, and available in black, tan, red, and brown.
As with most folio-style cases, Florence has a pocket on the right side that holds the tablet in place and covers the bezel; the top strip on our review unit didn’t initially lie flat, but becomes better once the leather’s been broken in a bit. Rather than a flat back, something that wouldn’t match the curved edges of the iPad 2, Florence’s rear is properly tailored to fit the curves. There are centered openings for the headphone port, Sleep/Wake button, rear camera, side switch and volume rocker, as well as the Dock Connector port. The hole for the microphone is a little bit off center, but the positioning doesn’t affect performance. Over the speaker there’s a 3 x 7 series of holes, a smart design choice that allows full volume output from the iPad while also providing good protection.
The entire interior of Florence is lined in a soft velvet. On the inside of the front cover, the velvet is pressed into the Sena logo—a nice touch—plus a series of four lines that run the height of the case. We were happy to see that the company chose to embed a magnet in the front cover to activate the automatic locking feature of the iPad 2, although we were equally disappointed that it does not work consistently—in one of our tests, it failed to engage each of 10 times we opened the lid. The magnet is so small that unless it is lined up exactly right, it may not trigger. This could be a problem if the magnet triggers when the case is closed, turning the screen on accidentally; the iPad 2’s battery could drain while not in use. Consequently, we would recommend that the feature be turned of in the Settings menu, and would like to see Sena fix this problem in future production runs; it’s the only reason this case fell short of a higher recommendation.
In addition, the magnet is visible through the velvet. That small obtrusion is something we have seen on many leather cases and in every circumstance it takes away from the look of the design, if only a little. Instead of using buttons, Velcro, or an elastic strap to hold the front cover shut, Sena has included a small pocket to tuck the bottom left corner into. Although it might not look like it would, that pocket actually holds the cover rather securely.There is also a flap on the back for holding the cover when it is folded underneath, turning the case into either a typing or viewing stand. Even though the flap doesn’t have much internal reinforcement, it holds the cover securely without slipping.
Overall, the quality of Florence is just about what we’ve come to expect from Sena Cases. The leather is beautiful and the fit of the case is pretty precise, save for the microphone hole. We really like how slim the folio is as it provides a nice alternative to the much more common bulky models. There are a few small issues that we’d like to see addressed in future iterations though, and the imperfect execution of the automatic locking feature is a glaring problem. If you’re planning on buying this case as a Smart Cover replacement, understand up front that the auto-locking feature is simply unreliable. Take that out of the equation and look at Florence as just a nice case that converts into a stand, and you’ll be quite happy. With those pros and cons in mind, we offer a limited recommendation for now; if the magnet system is fixed, Florence will be worthy of a stronger rating.